The Commission took the following actions at its Executive Committee Meeting on March 21, 2013:
Regional Benchmarking Study
Mr. Greg Grootendorst, HRPDC Chief Economist, presented an overview of the 2013 Hampton Roads Regional Benchmarking Study, which was approved at January’s Quarterly Commission meeting. The study provides a comprehensive view of the regional economy, including the Hampton Roads MSA’s rank in the top 103 MSAs (populations of 500,000 or more) on various metrics. Of note, Hampton Roads ranks the highest of all 103 MSAs for veteran population and ranks fifth overall for population working outside the county of residence.
The publication includes a locality profile for all 16 jurisdictions as well as graphical illustrations for 104 benchmarks covering the economy, demographics, housing, transportation, and various quality of life indicators. There is also a new section comparing the region’s localities on several metrics. The study is available online.
Regional Sewer Consolidation Study
Mr. Ted Henifin, HRSD General Manager, briefed the Commission on the Regional Sewer Consolidation Study in progress. The basis for the study is in response to the Federal Consent Decree and the State Special Order by Consent to reduce sanitary sewer overflows. Its purpose is to investigate whether there is a more affordable and cost effective regional solution when political borders are ignored. The study will explore potential capital expense savings, differences in rehabilitation with a regionalized approach (allowing for more intense work in fewer basins), as well as issues in the areas of operation and maintenance costs, economic development support, governance, regional rates, employee issues, and feasibility of partial regionalization.
The study will be completed in July 2013 and results will be presented to the regional governing bodies in late summer or early fall 2013. Each governing body will then be required to make a decision by February 2014. If the decision is made to pursue complete or partial consolidation, February 2015 is the deadline to finalize the details.
FY 2014 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Draft
Mr. Dwight Farmer, HRPDC Executive Director, presented the draft FY2014 Unified Planning Work Program to the Commission. The UPWP describes the work activities that HRPDC staff will undertake in support of the Commission and member localities. The UPWP outlines staff responsibilities that include producing multiple reports, administering contracts and grants, and providing administrative and technical support in the areas of Economics, Emergency Management, Housing, Public Information and Community Affairs, Regional Planning, and Water Resources. The draft UPWP is available for public review and comment for the next 30 days and will be presented for approval at the next Commission meeting in April.
Mr. Patrick Croute discussed Virginia Port Partners’ proposal to operate the Virginia Port Authority’s terminals.
Mr. Ellis W. James, Norfolk resident, discussed concerns about hexavalent chromium and water quality.
Minutes: The minutes of the January 17, 2013 HRPDC Quarterly Meeting and summary minutes of the February 21, 2013 Retreat were approved as part of the consent agenda.
Treasurer’s Report: Approved as part of the consent agenda.
Regional Reviews: Approved as part of the consent agenda.
Other items approved under the Consent Agenda:
Chairman Shepperd noted consent agenda items G. Coastal Zone Program – Land & Water Quality Protection Final Report and J. Arlington Phase I Stormwater Permit Comments. He stressed the serious economic implications of retrofitting BMPs based on inaccurate models and expressed concern that the state has not responded to our comments and would like to revisit the topic at the next Commission meeting in April.
Ms. Sara Kidd, HRPDC Senior Regional Planner, discussed the Office of Management and Budget’s recent action to change the delineation of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). This change removes Surry County, VA and adds Gates County, NC to the MSA for Hampton Roads. This is likely a consequence of the delineation of a new “urbanized area” in Williamsburg and James City County. Because of this new delineation, Williamsburg and James City County are no longer “central counties” to the MSA so commuters from Surry to Williamsburg and James City County are not counted towards the required 25% threshold to be considered an “outlying county” in the MSA. Gates County, NC met the 25% threshold to be included in the Virginia Beach MSA because nearly 50% of their workers commute to central counties of the MSA.